Malwa-Nimar: BJP for replay 2014, Cong for 2009-2018

After UP and Delhi, Indore will witness a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi. While Modi is addressing a rally on Sunday evening, Priyanka Gandhi, who is visiting Indore for the first time will hold roadshow on Monday in the city.

With the penultimate phase of elections getting over in crucial seats including Bhopal, the BJP bastion of Indore represented by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has caught the attention of top guns of Congress and BJP.

Both the parties have fielded a number of new faces with the BJP replacing a number of its sitting MPs.

After UP and Delhi, Indore will witness a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi. While Modi is addressing a rally on Sunday evening, Priyanka Gandhi, who is visiting Indore for the first time will hold roadshow on Monday in the city. Congress President Rahul Gandhi was here on Saturday and will address a rally on Tuesday.
 

Priyanka’s roadshow is focusing on the two assembly seats of Indore, which Congress had lost in last year’s assembly polls.

Mahajan had defeated her nearest rival Satyanarayan Patel of Congress by a mammoth margin of nearly 4 lakh 67 thousand votes in 2014. With Mahajan, who represented this constituency for eight consecutive times since 1989 is not in the fray, Congress is trying its best to wrest the seat but given the strong RSS network in the region huge saffron party cadre, this appears a tall task for the party. In Indore, BJP has fielded a new face Shankar Lalwani this time.

Congress candidate Pankaj Singhvi was adamant for a road show by Priyanka. She will visit Ujjain first, where she will have a ‘darshan’ of the iconic Mahakaal Temple and after the roadshow in Indore, she will address an election rally in Ratlam.

BJP not only won Indore but made a clean sweep in all eight seats of Malwa-Nimar region--Jhabua-Ratlam, Indore, Khandwa, Mandsour, Dewas, Ujjain. Dhar and Khargone. Congress bigwigs like Rahul Gandhi’s aide Mennakshi Natarajan as well as former Union Minister

Kantilal Bhuria also lost. Bhuria later won the Jhabua-Ratlam seat in a by-poll.

Congress buoyed by last year’s assembly election results, which returned it to power in the state after a 15-year-long exile, is making all efforts to make a difference this in this BJP stronghold. While in 2013 assembly polls, the BJP had won 56 of 66 assembly seats here, its tally came down to 21 seats in 2018 state elections with the Congress winning 35, a fourth time leap from the mere nine seats it had won in 2013.

In Mandsaur region, Congress is hopeful that the farmer distress during the last BJP regime when six farmers were killed in a police firing in June 2017, could come to its rescue, more so after its government headed by Kamal Nath has implemented loan waiver. Before 2014 Modi wave, it was Congress, which had won six of the eight Parliament seats in 2009 Lok Sabha polls. These were Ratlam-Jhabua, Dhar, Khandwa, Mandsaur, Ujjain and Dewas-Lok Sabha seats. Besides Indore, BJP could then only win Khargone seat.

Congress, which believes that Modi wave is depleted is trying to repeat its 2009 performance. While in the opium belt of Mandsore, the contest is between Meenakshi Natarajan of Congress and Sudhir Gupta of BJP, who had won the seat in 2014 with a margin of nearly three lakh votes, defeating the then sitting MP Natarajan.

In a number of seats, both Congress and BJP have fielded new faces in this region including professionals and artists. An interesting contest is on between internationally acclaimed Kabirvaani folk singer Prahlad Tipania from Congress and a former judge Mahendra Solanki from BJP in Dewas- Shajapur. Solanki was fielded as Manohar Untwal, who had won the seat in 2014, resigned from the seat after being elected an MLA in 2018 assembly polls.  

BJP has replaced five of its sitting MPs including Chintamani Malviya,  Subash Patel, Savitri Thakur in Ujjain, Khargone and Dhar respectively. Congress has fielded a radiologist Doctor Govind Mujalda. In Indore also—both Lalwani of BJP and Sanghvi of Congress are new faces.

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